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AlphaMetroid t1_j60ogys wrote

Wagner is Putin's special 'plausible deniability' unit. In the past they filled the role of Russia's military when it was too inflammatory to send official Russian military units somewhere. They would do the dirty work that would otherwise put a very negative spotlight on Russia's foreign policy and Putin could pretend to not be responsible because they're just an independent mercenary group.

In this case, Putin has dropped all pretenses of acting like they're unaffiliated. However, they're still technically separate from Russia's military and have their own separate command structure. While they fight with the same goal as the Russian military (taking ukraine) and they still answer to Putin, them being a separate entity has led to a lot of competition with the official Russian military.

To answer your question, 'Putin's Chef' is not a secret leader of the Russian military, he's just the leader of Wagner. Thanks to Putin's cronyism and tendency to favor his friends, Prigozhin has aspirations of outshining the official Russian military overseen by Defence Minister Shoigu. The reason it gets so confusing is because what Putin has essentially done is taken the Russian defence budget and split it between the official military and the 'unaffiliated' military and put two different cronies in charge. Then he sent conscripts (civilian and criminal alike) to join the official military and allowed Wagner to privately recruit mercenaries from the remaining population to avoid too big of a draft during their 'limited mobilization' last fall.


Marandil t1_j61d6jo wrote

To make things even more complicated, there is also Rosgvardia, Kadyrovites (theoretically also a part of Rosgvardia, but afaik Kadyrov answers to Putin directly) and possibly other military structures.


panda_gravy t1_j61j16y wrote

LNR and DNR (the separatist republics) also have separate military structures, and Shoigu, the Russian minister of defense, even has his own pmc that he’s sent to Ukraine, which is another one.

Highly recommend Perun’s latest video. He tried to tackle just how much of a shitshow it is.


pimparo0 t1_j622fzl wrote

I honestly felt like I needed to make a chart after watching that video for all the different units and the cast of anal fissures leading them. He did a excellent job linking this structure to the way the Nazi military worked too.


TjW0569 t1_j61utik wrote

If I had to guess, this a strategy so neither military gets too much power, and each can be used against the other.


AlphaMetroid t1_j61vzu6 wrote

Makes sense, I'm sure a coup is one of Putins biggest worries. I almost want to say it's a smart idea, but then I look at how his war is going for him.


LatterTarget7 t1_j65b4lt wrote

The Russian national guard was in Ukraine. They were called back. Likely just in case of protests for new mobilization or a coup attempt